East End Restaurants Slash Staff, Close After Move To Takeout Only ‘Eradicates’ Sales - 27 East

East End Restaurants Slash Staff, Close After Move To Takeout Only ‘Eradicates’ Sales

icon 3 Photos
Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic.

Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic.

Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic.

Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic. BY ALEC GIUFURTA

Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic.

Restaurants are slashing workers in an effort to survive in pandemic. BY ALEC GIUFURTA

Alec Giufurta on Apr 7, 2020

At 75 Main, Zach Erdem, is used to a business rush — he evolved his summertime Main Street Southampton restaurant between packed outdoor lunch crowds, late-night dinner services, and for a brief stint in 2019, a nightclub — but nothing prepared him for this.

By 8 p.m. on March 16, New York state restaurants were forced to shutter service and shift to takeout only. Mr. Erdem did what he had to — 95 percent of his workforce was cut.

Likewise, hundreds of East End restaurant workers were sent home following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, while restaurants that were able to keep their staff vied for a slice of a burgeoning takeout business.

And while an influx of the normally summer-only second-home crowd boosted sales for some eateries, most dine-in staples struggled to stay open.

The Express News Group contacted over 50 East End restaurants and delis, and about 40 responded, reporting massive staffing cuts and devastating declines in business.

“It’s less than a drop in the bucket,” said Southampton Publick House owner Don Sullivan of his takeout sales. “It has eradicated the business.”

Mr. Sullivan, however, reflected on a more long-term concern, worried about the pandemic’s impact on sales even after social distancing orders are lifted. “I don’t think people are going to be visiting restaurants the way they were,” Mr. Sullivan said.

Mr. Erdem said that the loss of his bustling lunch business crippled sales — 75 Main is not a traditional takeout establishment.

In East Hampton, Honest Management — which operates Rowdy Hall, Nick and Toni’s, Coche Comedor and Townline BBQ — saw an 80-percent drop in sales compared to the same time period last year, Curtis Haefeli, a representative at Rowdy Hall, said.

Serafina in East Hampton avoided a staff layoff — they opened for the season amid the pandemic, on March 27, with a small staff. What they did not avoid was a sales slump: a 50-percent decline this year compared to last year’s opening weekend, owner Goren Jokic said.

The CARES Act, enacted on March 27, may offer hope for some small businesses. The act created a Payroll Protection Program, allowing businesses with fewer than 500 employees to apply for federally backed loans to maintain payroll and overhead expenses.

The Village Cheese Shoppe in Southampton Village shut down after a few days of takeout. Owner Nikki Cascone-Grossman said remaining open was not an affordable option. The act, however, changed things: Ms. Cascone-Grossman plans to hire her staff back, “awaiting the care act grant,” she said.

For some restaurants, the shift to an exclusively takeout-based business was less tumultuous. Sip ‘N Soda in Southampton Village kept its entire staff on the schedule.

Mark Parash, the third generation in his family to operate Sip ‘N Soda, made a commitment to his staff: he would not let them go unless absolutely necessary.

“I am very proud of the way it’s been going forward,” Mr. Parash said of his takeout business.

“We’re learning and applying at the same time,” Mr. Parash added, noting that the next four to six weeks will be “interesting to see.”

Next door, at La Parmigiana, co-owner Rudy Gambino noted that the diaspora of New York City urbanites kept the takeout afloat.

After an initial round of furloughs at Sen Japanese Restaurant in Sag Harbor, a surprisingly strong takeout business allowed management to hire “about” six people back, Jessica Miranda, Sen’s manager, said.

But the takeout tale is not fortunate for all; Some restaurants are still holding out on cutting staff despite dismal sales. At Le Charlot in Southampton Village, the takeout business is unsustainable, the owner, Thierry Gelormini said.

Mr. Gelormini used holdover funds from summer 2019 to pay staff. “I’m running out very quickly,” he said. Mr. Gelormini predicted that his funds won’t last long: “two weeks, three weeks at the most. After that, I may have to close.”

John Papas has owned his self-titled East Hampton eatery for 28 years. Mr. Papas cut hours for his staff but resisted layoffs. “I’m doing a quarter of what I used to do,” he said.

“I went through two recessions … now it’s different,” Mr. Papas said.

You May Also Like:

New York State’s 50-a Repeal Changes Nothing Immediately

The New York State Legislature’s repeal in June of “section 50-a,” a part of the Civil Rights Law that permitted police agencies to refuse to release police misconduct records, was supposed to allow members of the press and the public to access such records through a Freedom of Information Law request. In practice, those records are not forthcoming. The Express News Group — publisher of The Southampton Press, The East Hampton Press and The Sag Harbor Express — recently filed FOIL requests seeking police personnel, misconduct and disciplinary records and civilian complaints from every South Fork police department from January ... 14 Aug 2020 by Brendan J. OReilly

The Express News Group Presents 27Speaks, A Weekly Podcast: August 13 Edition

27east.com · 27Speaks Podcast, August 13, 2020 Welcome to the latest edition of The Express ... by Staff Writer

Carol A. Gristina Of Quogue Dies August 11

Carol A. Gristina of Quogue died at her home on August 11 after a month’s ... by My27east

James Freeman Jr. Of Queens, Formerly Of Bridgehampton Dies August 10

James Freeman Jr. of Queens, and formerly of Bridgehampton, died on August 10 in Queens. He was 69. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton. by My27east

Giuseppina Gambino Of Southampton Dies August 11

Giuseppina Gambino of Southampton died on August 11. She was 79. Ms. Gambino was born on November 4, 1940, in Palermo, Sicily. She came to New York with her late husband Celestino Gambino in 1972. Ms. Gambino played a crucial part in the success of the well established family owned and run business La Parmigiana in Southampton. She was an exceptionally strong-minded woman with incredible skills in the kitchen, her family said, sharing traditional Sicilian delicacies like caponata, arancini and spiedini, to name a few. She is survived by her seven children, daughters Maria Ligregni, Giovanna Manglaviti, Anna-Maria Gambino, Patricia ... by My27east

Christine K. Jahnke Of Washington, D.C., And Quogue Dies August 4

Christine K. Jahnke of Washington, D.C. and Quogue died August 4 at her home in ... by My27east

Arrest Reports For Week Of August 13

QUOGUE — Quogue Village Police are looking for a white van that ran over a stop sign at the Post Lane and Quogue Street intersection sometime between 8:30 and 8:35 a.m. on August 8. A witness saw the van knock down and flatten the sign. WESTHAMPTON BEACH — Beverley Deperstein, 46, of The Bronx was arrested by Westhampton Beach Village Police On August 10 at about 1:50 p.m. on Main Street and charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Police said someone saw her steal a helmet from a motorized scooter while it was parked on Main Street. SAG HARBOR — ... by Staff Writer

DWI Reports For Week Of August 13

Bryam E. Chalco, 22, of East Hampton, was arrested by East Hampton Town Police on North Main Street and charged with misdemeanor DWI on August 2 at 12:49 p.m. According to police, Mr. Chalco was driving a black 2012 Nissan Rogue southbound on North Main Street near Cedar Street around noon and was pulled over for operating the vehicle with insufficient tail lamps, one license plate affixed and with his driver’s view obstructed. Police said he appeared intoxicated and performed poorly on field sobriety tests. He was held for morning arraignment where he was released on his own recognizance. Pauline ... by Staff Writer

International Auction House And Exhibition Outpost Opens At 1 Hampton Road in Southampton Village

Phillips Southampton, an exhibition and auction outpost of Phillips Auction House, opens its doors at ... by Kitty Merrill

Teen On Quad Injured On Booby-Trapped Trail

James Edler, a 17-year-old whose family has a weekend home on Brick Kiln Road in ... 12 Aug 2020 by Stephen J. Kotz
logo

Welcome to our new website!

To see what’s new, click “Start the Tour” to take a tour.

We welcome your feedback. Please click the
“contact/advertise” link in the menu bar to email us.

Start the Tour
Landscape view not supported